Regular Christians: Introduction

Regular Christians

In this series, we are going to consider some character examples of individuals we can read about in the New Testament.

Usually when we consider examples like this, we focus on some “great” Christians – men like Peter, Paul, John, and others. We certainly have much to learn from men like these who were leaders and diligent workers in the early church. Lessons about their character and example are important for us today.

Yet do we sometimes feel “inferior” to these “great” Christians? After all, we were not personally selected by Jesus; nor have we spent a few years learning from the Lord in person, received a special commission to go into all the world as His ambassadors, or been directly guided by the Holy Spirit in order to perfect our remembering and teaching of God’s word. In those ways, we are not like them; we are just “regular” Christians.

However, the New Testament does include examples of “regular” Christians – disciples like Dorcas, Tychicus, and Antipas – who were not apostles and in most cases would not be considered leaders in the church; yet what they did was significant. The Holy Spirit included them in the record of Scripture for a reason. They were “regular” Christians who serve as examples for “regular” Christians like us today.

We will be considering twelve examples in this series. These examples will fall into four categories:

  1. Regular Christians who used their talents – In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), Jesus described three servants who were given a different number of “talents” to use for their master while he was away. These “talents” were sums of money that the servants were to manage and increase on their master’s behalf. As this parable is about the Lord’s kingdom, the application extends beyond just money management. For us, “talents” may be those things we possess that can be used in the Lord’s service – our abilities, time, opportunities, as well as our money or resources. From the parable and the examples in the New Testament, we can see that we do not need to be a “five talent” Christian to be active in the Lord’s service; we simply need to use what we have to serve the Lord and continue to grow in these things.
  2. Regular Christians who encouraged their brethren – Christians are expected to encourage one another – not occasionally, but consistently and regularly. “Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:12-13). As the Hebrew writer explained, this encouragement is to help us from falling away, keep us from developing an unbelieving heart, and prevent us from being hardened by sin. This can happen to any one of us; therefore, we all need to be encouraging and be encouraged. Each one of us has the ability to be an encouragement to others. We can see this in the examples we will notice in this series. We need to look for ways that we can be an encouragement to our brethren as we strive to reach our goal.
  3. Regular Christians who endured hardship – When Paul and Barnabas returned to the churches where they had labored previously, they were “strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, ‘Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God’” (Acts 14:22). We will go through “many tribulations” in our effort to reach our eternal reward. Like the brethren whom Paul and Barnabas visited, we need to be strengthened in spirit, encouraged to continue, and always remain faithful. While it is important for brethren to encourage one another (previous point), this is about what we must do ourselves. The tribulations we go through are meant to discourage us and distract us from continuing to serve the Lord. Yet we must remain faithful and endure these hardships. In the Scriptures, we can read of “regular” Christians who did this.
  4. Regular Christians who fell away – Paul warned the brethren in Corinth: “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12). In that context, he used the example of the Israelites and explained to the brethren that God chose them and led them out of Egypt (1 Corinthians 10:1-4); yet they disobeyed God and were punished (1 Corinthians 10:5-10). He wrote, “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction” (1 Corinthians 10:11). It is possible for us to begin serving the Lord, then fall away. There are examples of Christians in the first century who did this. We must learn from their examples.

In this series of lessons, we will consider the examples of the following Christians:

  1. Dorcas
  2. Philemon
  3. Onesiphorus
  4. Barnabas
  5. Aquila and Priscilla
  6. Tychicus
  7. Onesimus
  8. Trophimus
  9. Antipas
  10. Demas
  11. Diotrephes
  12. John Mark

I hope this series of lessons will be helpful to all of us “regular” Christians as we strive to faithfully serve the Lord.

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